Have you heard about this new aggregator-type blog, called Foodshots? Here’s the explanation from the site:
Foodshots is an online collaborative arts project that showcases the very best in food blogging. Everyone is welcome to contribute, but every nomination for entry will be reviewed. Foodshots is like a continually evolving cookery book that belongs on both the coffee tables and in the kitchens of food enthusiasts and chefs everywhere.
Our mission is to be a place where food bloggers meet each other and discover themselves through writing and images. It is a place where the experiences, personalities and moods of each contributor create a source of inspiration and celebrate the heart and soul of food blogging.
Foodshots is different from online food photography groups and galleries; it is a collection of the most evocative, exciting, quirky and interesting posts from the world of food blogging.
I think this is a great idea. And the creator, Kate, is doing it right; she emailed me the other day, asking permission to feature my post about Butterflied Roast Chicken. I gave her the thumbs-up and the post is now live. As you can see, she’s using my photograph and just the first few lines of my post, with full attribution and a link back here.
Just the other day, some writer friends and I were chatting on a message board about copyright and recipe usage (it came up because I included Gourmet’s recipe for Sweet Potato Gnocchi in my post about it). This is an issue that comes up time and time again with food blogs: When is it ok to include someone else’s recipe, and when isn’t it? There’s a lively discussion of the subject on the Food Blog Alliance’s site (be sure to read the comments, too, since there’s some very helpful info there). The author of the entry, food writer David Lebovitz, recommends a) asking for permission before reprinting, and b) rewriting the instructions in your own words. Personally, I think some of the participants in that conversation go a little too far in their copyright arguments. If a recipe is plainly written (“Cool potatoes slightly, then peel and force through ricer into sheet pan, spreading in an even layer”), and I’m including my comments on the experience of following those instructions, and I’m giving full attribution, I don’t see what the problem is. This post, from Tarte Reform, is much less emotionally stated and, I think, much more helpful. It quotes actual legal casework, and offers this conclusion:
While many works can be protected, procedures, like “preheat oven to 350” or “mix until light and fluffy” cannot be copyrighted, no matter how it is explained. Even copying directions word for word into your blog is legal so long as you do not include the bits that could be considered “personal” or “unique” (my best example would be anything that starts with “in my experience” or “did you know”).
Now, if Kate from Foodshots had asked to reprint my entire blog post on her site, I would’ve said no. If I’m not being paid for the work, I want readers to read my writing on Words to Eat By, where they can click around and get to know me. By using only a small portion of my post, Kate very wisely offers her own readers a little taste from a lot of different writers, without stepping on anyone’s copyright.
What’s your take on all this? If you’re a food blogger, how do you deal with other people’s recipes?